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Gresham Saturday Market, Damascus Market and Gresham Farmers Market return for the 2018 season.

OUTLOOK FILE PHOTO - The Gresham Saturday Market will be the first area farmers market to return, kicking off the 2018 season Saturday, April 14.Mid-spring in East Multnomah County means mornings filled with fresh produce, popping kettle corn and handcrafted art.

Across the region, local farmers markets are gearing up for an exciting 2018 season, with new vendors and even more entertainment.

The first one to open will be the Gresham Saturday Market, which continues to thrive at Mt. Hood Community College. The market opens Saturday, April 14, and runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each Saturday through Sept. 29. There will be fresh produce, fruits and berries, crafts, fine art, artisan foods made on site, music and plenty of family fun. At the market, there is also covered seating for visitors.

"I am looking forward to seeing everyone enjoying their day at the market," said Gary Dillon, owner and manager of the Saturday Market. "It is a safe, wholesome place to visit every week."

The market moved to the MHCC campus, at 26000 S.E. Stark St., in 2016, and has expanded every season. The market is held in parking lot "W" at the corner of Kane and Stark Street. The first 300 visitors on opening day can enjoy a complimentary slice of celebration cake, and Ron Ruedi and the Hurricanes will provide the entertainment.

"Those guys are local legends, so we are excited they are performing for the opening," Dillon said.

This year there will be even more exciting vendors at the Saturday Market, with more than 80 on opening day. Organizers expect produce to be available sooner than ever — perhaps even for the first market. The food stalls will include pizza, baklava, gourmet sausages, Thai food, tamales, barbecue, and much more.

The vendors available will continue to change every week, so those behind the market suggest visiting often.

"Our goal is to provide the community a vibrant, unique and lively marketplace every Saturday," Dillon said. "It's fun to get out of the rat race for a while."

Downtown Market

The Gresham Farmers Market was established in 1986, running for the first season in the Gresham City Hall parking lot. Bouncing around to new homes, the market finally found its place in the heart of downtown.

The Farmers Market will run from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every Saturday from the first weekend in May to the last weekend in October.

The market will allow community members to stroll, shop and listen to live music in a friendly atmosphere. There are vegetable farmers, bakers, artists and more providing the best local produce, meats, cheese, breads, honey, desserts, flowers, art and handmade crafts.

Damascus Market

The Damascus Farmers Market was launched in 2012 by a small group of community members with a desire to create a positive and vibrant event. Since those early days, the market has grown to become a beloved evening gathering place.

The first day of the 2018 season will be from 4-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, at Damascus Centennial Park, 20100 S.E. Highway 212. The market will run weekly through Sept. 12, showcasing live music, local vendors and delicious foods.

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